BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Social media can be a great distraction or an incredible tool.
A Baton Rouge funeral home owner is now using its power to help those who cannot afford funeral services for their loved ones. It’s called crowd sourcing. You can ask for donations online to help pay for medical bills, school trips, etc. Greg Clark wanted to use it to pay for funeral services.
“Here in Baton Rouge, the average was about $6,000 maybe five years ago,” Clark said. “Now it’s north of ten grand. Cremations run from $1,400 to $4,000."
Clark is one of the owners of Church Funeral Services and Crematory. He says those skyrocketing costs were leaving some families unable to pay for a loved one’s funeral.
“We don’t have payment plans,” he said. “We don’t have the option of saying, we’ll set you up on layaway, right? You know that’s not an option at that time of need, so the families are desperate and have to make a decision and they have to do it fairly quickly.”
Inlieuof.com allows funeral homes to set up a fundraising campaign for families to help cover any costs. All the money raised goes directly to the funeral home and any excess will be given to next of kin.
“As a funeral director, when they meet with the family, they recognize the need, they see it, then they are the ones that establish that campaign on inlieuof.”
The program has already helped one particular Baton Rouge family.
"We started talking about doing a GoFundMe or something like that because they didn’t have life insurance or anything set up,” said a family friend.
The family friend says when the family lost a loved one, they turned to the website to help cover the costs. Through the site, they were able to raise a little more than $2,000.
"It's one less thing you have to grieve about and worry about,” she said.
Clark says each family is responsible for the success of the campaign. They must stir up support by sharing it on social media.
"If it's not shared, doesn't get the traffic, it doesn't do it,” Clark said.
There are some fees that go along with the service. Clark says they adjust the goal of the campaign to supplement those.
Right now, only six funeral homes across Louisiana have subscribed to the service, a number which Clark hopes will grow.